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One Day in Paris: How to See Paris in a Day


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Paris, One Day: What to Do in Paris in a Day

Paris, the architecture, food, art and iconic sights. Although a single day may not be enough time to cover all the sights in Paris, you can still see a lot of it in one day.

Are you planning to spend a day in Paris? These are the best ways to see Paris in a short time and things to see in Paris in one day. You’ll be able to remember your next trip.

Paris in August: Luxembourg Gardens

The Complete Guide to One Day In Paris

You can start at Notre Dame, but you cannot go in.

Notre Dame is located on Il de la Cite, the island in the middle the Seine. It’s the perfect place to start your day in Paris. Notre Dame, a beautiful and iconic landmark, is a great starting point for any Paris trip.

For a few reasons, we recommend starting your day in Paris from Il de la Cite.

The entire area surrounding Notre Dame and in front of it has been closed to the public since September 2019. It is also clear from all angles the damage caused by the fire. The church has been closed indefinitely.

View of the front of Notre Dame as of September 2019, after the April 2019 fire

We recommend that you take a photograph of Notre Dame from the corner of Rue de la Cite et Quai de Montebello near the Pont de Coeurs if you want to capture the tops of its towers and the front of the cathedral.

READ NEXTHONEYMOON in Paris: How To Plan Your Dream Trip

Visit Shakespeare & Company.

5 minutes walk from Notre Dame.

Shakespeare & Company is located just a few steps from Notre Dame. It is the best-known English-language bookstore in Paris.

Shakespeare & Company is well-known as the haunt for Lost Generation writers such as Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald. Later (in its current location), Shakespeare & Company was the meeting place of Langston Hughes and Ray Bradbury. It has a rich history that includes many famous people, eccentric owners, and even a closure during Nazi occupation of France.

Shakespeare & Company has beautiful books today and is worth a visit on a day trip to Paris. Say hello to the cat that lives upstairs and take a look at Notre Dame from the second floor window.

Avoid taking photos inside the building. This is a rule that many patrons seem to be unaware of.

Paris in August: Shakespeare & Company

Get a cup of coffee at a Parisian café.

There are many beautiful Parisian cafes within walking distance of Shakespeare & Company. After a long day, you will likely crave a coffee and a dessert.

For something more photogenic and popular, we recommend Odette. The cafe at Shakespeare & Company has surprisingly tasty and affordable options. Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is for those who are late risers. However, this cafe is not open until noon.

Kate Storm in a blue & white dress in front of Cafe Odette--consider coffee here during your one day in Paris!

See the oldest clock in Paris.

8-minute walking distance from Shakespeare & Company and Odette.

The oldest clock in Paris is located on the side of Conciergerie, just steps from the Seine.

The clock was installed in the 14th century and is functional as well as stunning. It’s easy to stop for a moment to admire its beauty while on your way to Sainte-Chapelle.

Oldest clock in Paris located on the side of the Conciergerie. The clock is blue and gold, and definitely worth slowing down to take a peek at during any Paris itinerary!

Find your way to Sainte-Chapelle.

3 minutes walk from Tour de l’Horloge.

You no longer have the option to visit the Notre Dame interior. Instead, make sure you take time in your mad dash through Paris to see the interior Sainte-Chapelle. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful church interiors anywhere in the world.

Sainte-Chapelle’s stunning upper chapel was built in 13th-century to house precious Christian relics such as the Crown of Thorns. It is home to 15-meter high walls made almost entirely of stained-glass. This makes it even more impressive, considering that 70% of the glass is original.

It is not easy to get around here. We recommend buying a skip-the line ticket ahead of time. They are available at no additional cost, just like many Paris attractions.

Interior of the stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle when looking up from the altar, one of the prettiest places to photograph in Paris France

Go to the Luxembourg Gardens.

A 13-minute walk to Shakespeare & Company.

The Luxembourg Gardens, home to the magnificent Luxembourg Palace, are the ideal example of Paris’ iconic gardens. They are beautiful and flowery in the summer and you will see many people gathering for a picnic or quiet afternoon of reading.

We visited the Luxembourg Gardens in both winter and summer and can confirm their beauty, but the summer is undoubtedly more beautiful.

Follow the route of St. Germain to the Louvre.

A short walk from the Luxembourg Gardens to Louvre takes 18 minutes.

St. Germain is often considered one of Paris’ most iconic neighborhoods. St. Germain is a Parisian postcard with its beautiful buildings, shuttered windows and wrought iron balconies.

It’s also a great place to eat. So, a stroll through St. Germain while you make your way towards the Louvre serves three purposes: enjoying a beautiful Parisian neighbourhood, taking a break during lunch and then making your way to your next destination.

We enjoyed our meal at Eggs & Co., St. Germain. Laduree, which makes some of France’s most famous macarons, also has a lovely store in this area. Although it is technically a few blocks from St. Germain, but still delicious, our lunches at Le Prince Racine were also delicious.

One Day in Paris: Macarons

Explore the Louvre.

The Louvre is a massive, iconic and overwhelming attraction that can be seen in Paris in a single day.

It’s impossible to see everything. We’ve been twice, for hours and still feel that we haven’t even scratched the surface. Strategy and prioritization are key components of making the most out of our time at the Louvre.

It is recommended that you spend at least two hours here. This will depend on when you arrive, how fast you move, and how long you stay. Also, keep an eye out for sunset time-you don’t want to miss the Eiffel Tower before it gets dark. Start by going directly to the collection or piece that is most important to your heart. It could be the Mona Lisa, the Venus di Milo, or the Egyptian artifacts. You never know!

We recommend that you visit the Louvre’s website to get some structure and a timeline for your visit. They have many museum trails laid for you to follow. You can also take a guided tour to get maximum context and direction.

Paris vs Rome: The Louvre

No matter if you decide to take a guided visit of the Louvre, or not, we strongly recommend buying a skip the-line ticket for Louvre prior to arriving. The lines can be crazy, and even with a skip the-line ticket you still have security!

Visit the Palais Garnier.

A 17-minute walk to the Louvre.

It’s impossible to spend a day in Paris without visiting Versailles. But, you can still get a taste of Parisian glamour at the Palais Garnier (also known as the Opera Garnier).

The iconic Paris opera house is beautiful and gilded. Although the theatre’s interior is quite standard, the rest, including the Grand Staircase and Loggia are truly extraordinary.

One Day in Paris: Palais Garnier

Although it’s unlikely that there will be a ghost under the opera house in the future, legends about the story include a fatal accident in which the famous chandelier was damaged in 1896.

Although the lines at the Palais Garnier are shorter than at Notre Dame and the Louvre, we recommend buying skip-the line tickets in advance to make sure your day in Paris is as smooth as possible. Plus, the price of skip-the–line tickets at the door was the same as purchasing them in advance as it was in August 2018.

Enjoy the iconic Eiffel Tower views from Trocadero Gardens.

23 minutes by metro line 9 from Palais Garnier

A memorable view of the Eiffel Tower is a great way to close a Paris day.

Trocadero Gardens offers the best view of Eiffel Tower in Paris. Grab a crepe from one the nearby vendors (the prices for crepes are surprising low to be right by the Eiffel tower) and enjoy the beautiful views.

We recommend that you stay for sunset if possible. Depending on your time, you might even be able to see the Eiffel tower in both the sun and the night sky.

You can also walk closer to the Eiffel tower by going through Trocadero Gardens.

Unfortunately, security measures have been increased to prevent anyone from walking directly beneath the Eiffel Tower, although you can still walk pretty close.

One Day in Paris: view of Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Gardens

Tips for One Day In Paris

These tips will help you make the most of your time in Paris.

Start early.

Although we are not early risers, one day in Paris would make us look foolish if we said so.

At the time of writing, Notre Dame Cathedral opened at 8:00 am and the towers at 10:00 am. If you plan to climb the towers, you should purchase a skipthe-line ticket. It is possible to buy tickets a few days in advance.

If you arrive at Notre Dame by 8 and have enough time to see it before 10, Shakespeare & Company can easily be seen. And if you are a bibliophile the Abbey Bookshop is also within walking distance.

Strategize your metro use.

Walking is the best way to see Paris.

By spending as much time on the ground as possible, you’ll be able to experience Paris’s neighborhoods, sights, cafes and much more. We’ve limited the number of metro rides in this guide to Paris for one day.

If your feet hurt (even one day in Paris can mean hours of walking), or the weather is bad, you might consider adding metro rides to this itinerary.

Skip the line passes are your best friend.

If you don’t plan in advance, a day in Paris in the summer months can easily lead to spending your entire day standing in line.

Paris skip-the-line passes are the best way to travel. We use them whenever we visit and they don’t usually cost anything extra.

We recommend buying skip-the-lines passes to Sainte-Chapelle and the Louvre based on this itinerary for one day in Paris.


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